Management Fundamentals: Chapter 1: Reflection and Skill Building

Case: Jiffy Lube University

Case Questions

  1. Human resources and informational resources were expertly utilized to best boost the company to success and improve financial numbers. Jiffy Lube saw a low number of their specialty oil sales and instead of blaming their technicians, managers or customers, the higher-ups decided to open a Jiffy Lube University in 2004. This shows that they believe the problem was a communication issue and by improving this and training the staff through “internal training and education,” it led to an increase in sales and was named the top organization for training. Jiffy Lube used humans, aka the ‘most valuable asset’ to their advantage by giving their employees and managers extra training in team building and team leadership exercises. By focusing on their staff, it only helps to improve morale and help them gain confidence in their work thus improving the overall atmosphere of their work life.
  2. Jiffy Lube University had programs for team leaders, leadership training, and management. The school delved in to finding the importance of leadership and management and having it as an influential tool to be taught to their staff thus increasing the likelihood of a successful friendly work environment for managers and their employees.
  3. The university used the management program by having the individual go through “learn and apply” simulations and have them graded based on how they worked the problem out. By giving the individual the ability to take control of a work problem/issue that could happen in real life, it helps them test their own leadership skills as they work to plan and determine the best route for the objective to take place. Organize this plan of theirs and then leading it to fruition. While taking the plan in action, the manager then works to control any mitigating factors and work to correct and complete any other objectives.
  4. I do not think teaching a universal approach to management would hurt the essence of management. Management/leadership skills are an ever evolving process as communication within the technical world enhances as well the idea of marketing and advertising to get the best success rate. Management has to learn and adapt to new ideals and strategies so having a universal understanding of the subject only helps to improve  business.
  5. Jiffy Lube University is there for the employees to improve any skills within the workforce which shows the workers that their management cares about them and is there to help them succeed in their job. It is not there to set them up for failure or lecture them on poor sales but to bolster their resume and possibly promoting them to jobs that they never knew they could do. Managers are discovered when said people stand up and show not only the world, but themselves, truly what they are capable of doing. The school is there to encourage that train of thought and push them to the best of their abilities.
  6. If most companies had a school like that that delved in to those type of skills for whatever job type that is, I think I would really be interested in that. It is there to encourage you to improve yourself and makes you want to be better not only for the business that hired you but because you want to have monetary gain in future promotions.

Skill Builder 1-1

The best way to remember multiple people’s names is to constantly refer to them by their name in any sentence that you have that addresses that particular person. By using that person’s name, you are acknowledging their presence and have a respect for them by addressing them by their given title since birth. It constantly forces your mind to remember that name and the importance behind why you should know it.

Skill Builder 1-2

My best boss would have to be my BM1 (first class petty officer) at my first base in the USCG. As a military member, you are constantly forced to be independent yet accommodating as you are there to serve your country. Leaders are a necessity within the military. Through school, ranks, and leadership tests-leaders are taught but the successful ones have actual followers and earned respect amongst their crew. This BM1 was incredibly strong and supportive in my endeavors and wanted me to succeed in my career as a coastie. He led my unit to precision and made sure we followed our deadlines every time. His planning and leading never felt burdensome nor did I feel like he was a dictator type of figure. When our unit had to get through very stressful situations, he would make sure me and my coworkers were able to accomplish to his expectations but also cared about our well being and would make sure we were in a happy morale at all times.

My worst supervisor would also be another person in my career in the Coast Guard. My last unit had a BMC (Chief)who was truly a terror among me and my coworkers. Everyday, I was scared and anxious to go to work and be in that toxic environment. He rarely interacted with the crew and when he did, you could feel his annoyance and lack of interest being in our presence. He avoided taking responsibility for any disorganization and failed to plan efficiently. What I see as key differences among my best and worst supervisor would be the morale they could conjure up at their units. BM1 was a happy kind and understanding person. His personality showed compassion yet understood the importance of the cooperation of their crew. His ability to listen, get the job done, and also respect his employees showed a healthy happy work environment while my BMC made little appearance in supporting his staff. We were a means to an end for him and although he never said anything to hurt morale, it showed on his face and his overall lack of compassion for his crew made everyone on the base feel inadequate and depressed.

Skill Builder 1-3

I would like to work at a not for profit as an employee and hopefully work my way to manager. I have to see how I can best utilize my skills and not settle in a job that can truly make me happy and encourage me to succeed and improve.

Skill Builder 1-4

  1. B ; Spend time getting to know them personally, but make sure they maintain performance levels.
  2. B ; Tell Jill to do it again the right way and closely supervise the job.
  3. C ; Conduct a meeting to get the group members’ ideas. Select new hours together, with your approval.
  4. A ; Clearly explain what needs to be done and oversee his work. Discuss why the procedures are important; support and encourage him.
  5. B ; Discuss the problem with Padma. Help her realize that her personal problem is affecting her work. Discuss ways to improve situation. Be supportive and encourage her.
  6. A ; Ask her to put the cigarette out; then leave.
  7. C ; Have Sue and Tom sit down and discuss their conflict and how to resolve it. Support their efforts to implement a solution.
  8. A ; Discuss his problem and help him come up with ideas for maintaining work; be supportive.
  9. A ; set some goals together. Encourage and support her efforts.
  10. C ; Describe the benefits to Franco. Get his ideas on how to do it and check his progress
  11. B ; Discuss problem with Jean and ask her what can be done about it; be supportive
  12. D ; Explain the new method and get the group’s input on ways to improve and implement it.

Autocratic: 1

Consultative: 3

Participative: 7

Empowering: 1

I believe I am definitely a participative person. I like to listen and hear everyone’s opinion before coming to a shared decision because that promotes a healthy happy work environment. Compromise and solve the problem as a team any chance you can get. Chapter 1 gives a lot of technical terms about the early beginning stages of understanding the management position. The layout of the chapter helped to keep the extensive amount of information from being overwhelming. My favorite thing about Chapter one would be their list of objectives for the book we are about to study and read from throughout the semester. The simple message to developing your management skills: Practice! It helps to see the simplified vision to succeed when all the information can be truly terrifying. Yes, you must implement the many practices within the book and understand the concepts but you also have to take part in doing what is taught. Persistence and practice was the book’s wording and it helps bring me back down to Earth and not freak out about the process and development of it all. They also gave a great quote from a football coach who said that, “leaders are made by effort and hard work.” You do not have to be a handsome, rich, highly educated or even highly intelligent person in order to be a great leader. Give it your all and never give up is what will make you stand out.

Carnegie Thoughts

“He who treads softly goes far.”  – Chinese Proverb

Carnegie’s book on the best way to win friends within any social aspect of your life seemed to have taken such a simple approach but still an eye opening impact on how one view’s their emotional role throughout their lives. Although most of the information seems like common knowledge, it is this exact example why more books should follow the same path when it comes to trying to improve somebody’s personal life whether that is their social circle, romantic relationships, or the business world. Carnegie not only gives uncomplicated advice but gives countless examples of real life people who have come forward with positive outcomes within their past through all walks of life.

So many self-help books have given a “Me” type approach that they believe is linked to all the successes in the world thus ignoring the true problem. The narcissistic pessimistic point of view will only give you momentary happiness and success but a positive affirmative personality with a large dose of altruism gives every individual involved, a sense of success, compassion and a satisfied personal fulfillment. It is this pay it forward ideation that will hopefully be passed around from one person to another. Antagonistic and abrasive actions just proves a person comes from a world where only their opinion matters and their vision is the ideal way. I am sure there are examples of successful individuals who have followed this approach, but in the end they would probably not be remembered fondly or thought of us giving back to society. In essence, their lives didn’t give a true meaningful impact to at least one person based on compassion, selflessness or agreeableness.

If people followed the Socratic method from the very beginning, imagine the huge change of course throughout history. The amount of wars that could have never reached fruition, the countless deaths, and the broken bonds would have vanished. Socrates was one of the most brilliant philosophers to have ever lived and he lived by a simple adage of catching more flies with honey than vinegar. He would win argument after argument by speaking positively and calmly from the beginning. Not only should people have the approach of compassion and wanting to get to know and understand the person they will interact with but that they also need to hear the other person’s perspective when dealing with complaints and problems.

It is so beneficial to read advice like this that would best help someone in the business world. Even dealing with group work in school can gently remind you that you are not alone in this world. If you feel threatened or scared to talk to the world, then listen; it will talk for you and guide you to a positive outlook. Show a willingness to listen can be the most powerful tool at your disposal. But there was one word that kept sticking out to me in the Carnegie book and that was ‘adroit.’ A cleverness of the use of one’s hands or mind. The word would pop up when the author talked about Socrates or important advisors to presidents like Woodrow Wilson. A clever mind tends to keep one’s mouth closed more often than chattering just to hear their own voice. A clever mind wins more arguments than a loud opinionated one does. A clever mind lives a less stressful life simply by letting the world come to them at their own pace. If you believe in your own thoughts and ideas, then you should feel confident enough to quietly express it and let others come to that decision through positivism and empathy. It helps to ease this student’s mind to learn that a key strategy to success is to keep quiet and ask questions. Something this introvert thrives on and actually sees the benefits happening right in front of them; my bonds are small in number among friends, acquaintances, family and coworkers but its strong elasticity has given way to a more approachable enthusiastic self. Stay clever and open minded. You are guaranteed to go places.

 

Carnegie: Chapter 2

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest  injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

This quote really spoke out to me as it did to the author who wrote the book we are assigned to read. What is most amusing about my thoughts on this chapter is that most of this is and should be absolute common sense. To have people be interested in caring about you, you should step up and show them you care what they have to say. It seems like everyday advice you learn from your family and the early stages of elementary school. Yet reading this chapter made me open my eyes to how much I’ve forgotten over the years due to failed relationships, dealing with volatile work environments, and every day rude people. But it also makes me appreciate the small circle of friends and family that have cherished me as I have cherished them.

To become a leader and maintain a healthy environment around you, it is important to address yourself first and notice how you interact with the world around you. It is easy to wake up each day as a miserable grouch who wants to put their head down and get from point a to point b as quickly as possible. But at the end of the day, it begins to be a monotonous choir of just trying to live. Instead, wake up and smile or hum a tune. It may be fake at first but with each encouraging smile returned back to you, the easier it will be for natural happy thoughts to spring up in the mind. A smile is one of the most powerful weapons a person can have at their disposal. Not only does it calm your own thoughts and relax your mind, but the environment around you begins to dramatically change into a positive enlightening atmosphere. The stories that littered all over the chapter of Carnegie’s book just highlighted how much of an impact a genuine smile can be. The smile can win over a client, improve work morale, strengthen relationships and make your overall mental attitude soar above the rest.

Having success in leadership and management doesn’t necessarily require a high IQ, copious amounts of money or even a dozen different types of college degrees. To say it helps is an understatement but to believe that those things can sustain a successful career and fruitful life is a lie that has been told to generations. By reading the simple yet powerful words of Carnegie and his many examples throughout the chapter, it is becoming more apparent that a continued success throughout your work life and personal life truly stems from how you interpret the world surrounding you. A smile and a belief that people are worth getting to know and learn as much as you can about them is the true gift that keeps on giving. Not only will you yourself be happier for it, but influencing and inspiring others to do the same will only improve to make the world a positive place.

On Today’s Report: Dark Matters, Smart Learners and Realizing You Are Not Special

As I was finishing up the reading on the dark matters article, I could not help but roll my eyes at the author’s irrelevant ramblings about fearing the unknown and how that limits our ability to emphasize. While the message Lisa Randall is displaying is empathetic in and of itself, writing about the ignorance of every single person’s view and how that limits our perceptions of solving the world’s problems, kind of defeats the purpose of delving in to dark matter as one. What is the author’s purpose of having the dark matters of the world perceived as scary and ominous while agreeing with an artist’s interpretation of her lecture as it refers to race and class? While the link between the two subjects does make sense, the structure of their piece is somewhat derivative when the David Foster Wallace quote is much more eloquent and perfectly emphasizes the whole thesis of this article.

Moving along to the next reading or video assignment has started to make me think a bit harder and get agitated that much quicker. I begin to compare it to finding the Holy Grail to what the obvious link is among each of the assignments. Finishing up the “you are not special” video should be humbling but since I am nine years past high school graduation, I start to upturn my nose to the obvious message. In the military, we learn that none of us are special but work together as one coherent machine in order to succeed. Having so many negative experiences tends to push the selflessness and humbleness into your face. But experiencing and relishing all the moments should not deter people from following their symbolic list of wants and desires. For even crossing off things from your invisible bucket list could in fact be a way to gratify and even add harmony to others around you. So many people want to label and write a remarkable piece that they hope will impress and get the most internet clicks but the reality of it is, is that each of us live our lives trying to please others. We may say the opposite, but we were born to try to be the special one. The leader. The unique. When the inevitable happens and you wake up realizing you are not one of those special ones is the day that you can finally live in peace. So I move on to the next assignment and get a taste of what a smart learner is thus beginning to move away from the traditional leader spiel and getting to the grittier part of enlightenment. How must each individual live to their fullest potential?

My answer is to listen and read until you physically cannot listen and read any longer. Listening to others that think they know what they are doing is a task that brings you one step closer to the theoretical enlightenment. This enlightened stage is a path that will never be finished in an individual’s lifetime but makes living an enjoyable experience. People love to be listened to and when they feel like they have that audience, that is when results begin to literally make changes in the world. Intelligence, money and a large network can help speed along that path to acknowledgement but it doesn’t provide a clear path to inevitability. Memorable leaders did not have all of the exact same traits of race, money and power; what they had in common was the endeavor to learn and the absolute need to keep going regardless of the heartaches, the failures, and the shortcomings.

Historians and Their Digital Resources

Digital tools have immensely improved the academic field because it saves time, resources, and money for the historians doing the research. As we discussed in one of the earlier classes, computers and the internet opened up so many avenues for academics with even websites like Wikipedia being a huge source for quick convenient information. It helps others get involved with learning and teaching what they know which becomes this revolving source of collected information. Interlibrary loans give valuable information for scholars who need sources that are hard to come by due to location, time and saving money altogether. Being able to communicate with multiple historians and having their help in collaborating, analyzing and giving advice in their research.

Benefits of Different History Fields

The different history fields like women, environmental, and ethnohistory have helped pave the way to being more accessible to different groups. These new fields open up for people to delve into what was once untouched and widely ignored for years. It’s difficult for historians to thoroughly research some of the fields like women’s history because much of the women during the centuries didn’t keep a lot of written documents. This is due in part to women being perceived as property to men for most of history. So unfortunately some history has to have a fill in the blank type of method. These new fields really interest me and helps gain my attention to certain histories that began to become quite stale by constantly focusing on white men and their problems. By showing all the paths you can take in learning history, it opens a whole new world for everybody such as the civil war and discussing what the women did and how the African American men and women evolved through this hectic time. There’s so much more to view in history if you just look beyond and realize the possibilities that can be explored.

The Evolution Of the Many History Fields

I still find most of the traditional fields a bit more bland than other sorts of history subjects that interests me. But I find that the overall development of the fields having a different approach and expanding is making them more approachable to the masses especially women and people of color. The traditional fields mainly focused on the same old statistics and battles therefore it became quite stagnant in the history department. But by delving more into the different races involved, economical values for the common people, and even veering over to what women did is making these fields much more presentable and a breath of fresh air. Rethinking these genres by focusing on things other than generals and battle strategies is a step in the right direction because it shows historians are challenging and facing this evolution with an open mind rather than backing down and continuing on that stagnant dull path. I believe this new approach is in regards to the public backlash of the Vietnam war and just the overall negativity in approaching that war. We’ve grown to see and read things we may not agree with and so many different avenues have let us be able to vocalize our disinterest which in turn spreads like wildfire. Facing racism and sexism has started to come to an end in historical research with people voicing their discontent in the blatant discrimination.

Advancing History: Popular and Academic

The advancement of time has done well for the overall study of history as more demand knowledge of what interests one. From the publication of historical fiction in novels and film productions, the public has gained new avenues in developing a fascination for stories that have actually taken place and thus the audience falls down the rabbit hole and looks for more of the subject. Popular history has thrived these past few years as more and more authors put their names in the hat to possibly gain fame with their writings about historical events and famous individuals. Education has also been more accessible which has done an immense help in advancing our outlook on numerous ideologies from race to politics.

It’s noticeably apparent in comparing the writings of an older generation of Francis Parkman and the newer one like Francis Jennings. Parkman is definitely a man of his generation who thrives on writing what primarily interests himself and his own ideals especially in regards to favoring the English and dismantling the American Indians. His writing is focused on such a small branch of people and is mostly written like a novel striving to be noticed rather than taken as a serious historical perspective. Jennings has a much more objective approach of history which is the way history should always be written. Popular history must try to take an academic approach  by using accurate resources and no biases but still make it accessible to a wider audience with the way it is written. History will continuously evolve through time through the basis of education and technological advances as well it should. As Francis Jennings said he is merely there to open the field and never to close it through his immense dedication to providing objectivity, various interpretations, honesty, and reliables sources.